The Trump SpamTo start, we looked for spam during the month of March that had "Trump" in the subject line and "CNN" in the sender name, but did not actually get sent from CNN's IP addresses. There were many thousands to choose from, but only thirteen subject lines were used:
Subject: BREAKING: Trump Explosion Shocks Audience
Subject: BREAKING: Trump Scandal Could End it All...
Subject: CNN: This Time Donald Trump Crossed the Line
Subject: Donald Trump Explodes on Sunday Talk Show
Subject: Donald Trump: Here is my Secret Weapon
Subject: Donald Trump: I have a Secret Weapon
Subject: Donald Trump: I'M DONE
Subject: Donald Trumps Reveals His Trump Card
Subject: TRUMP ADMITS: Yes, It's Rigged
Subject: Trump Debate Comment Stops the Show
Subject: Trump Explodes at Debate, Stops the Show
Subject: Trump Explodes on Sunday Talk Show
Subject: Trump Reveals his Knockout Punch
The "sender name" for these spam messages was selected from one of the following:
CNN Breaking News
CNN Breaking Now
CNN Happening Now
CNN News Now
However, the email addresses had absolutely nothing to do with CNN or its domain name. The userids were:
info, news, notification, notify, or update
followed by many different domain names, including:
allstayclear.com, bestbetterclass.com, childreneveryopen.com, eyealwaysher.com,
followboatstreet.com, gavewantfar.com, heardwerethan.com, intuitivefinally.com,
lessbooksure.com, offunitrain.com, pageobjectsystem.com, placewhenboy.com,
pullamongmight.net, rainwhichcome.com, redanswercontain.com, restverysay.com,
seemfarmlong.com, shegroundminute.com, sixletterwater.com, strongstoodstate.com,
thingwoodscience.com, veryknewworld.com, warmfoundagain.com
These spam messages are from a group of spammers who specialize in using high interest headlines to do a many-level redirection that eventually lands the recipient of the email on a website promising some form of "get rich quick" scheme.
Other Spam From Same IP Addresses (Walgreens, Google, Amazon)By selecting the thirty most common spam-sending IP addresses for the CNN/Trump campaigns, we are able to learn about other favorite campaigns being run by the same group of spammers during the month of March 2016.
Subject: (name), Your Walgreens Card is on Hold #(random number)
Subject: Walgreens Pickup Notice (random number)
was popular at the beginning of the month, with
March 1, 2016 From: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
March 3, 2016 From: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
March 5, 2016 From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning on March 8th, a popular "Google is hiring" scam began from the same spamming computers:
Subject: Google Inc. wants to work with you (89k working from home)
Subject: Google Inc. has three positions available - $75.00 (hour)
Subject: (3) New Positions Open With Google Inc. - Salary is 89K for 2016
From: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Then back to Walgreens, From: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
The Donald Trump / CNN spam was well mixed throughout on March 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12
After a brief hard-core sex campaign on March 12th, on March 13, the spammers began an "Amazon shopping voucher" campaign:
Subject: (name) - Ready to use - your Amazon shopping voucher - active today
Subject: (name) - Your Amazon Card
Subject: (name) - So much at your fingertips - activate your Amazon cash voucher now
with sender names of "Amazon.com.Credit, AmazonCard, ShopAmazon, and Amazon-Voucher and From: firstname.lastname@example.org
The RedirectionIn each of the spam campaigns, a single IP address was used as the source for each "from domain" and the destination URLs related to that email were all hosted on an oddly named host on the same domain. Some examples include:
Let's take a spam message that redirects us to "smtp.friendroomdiffer.com" as an example. The URL that we are supposed to has a path that looks similar to this: (we've replaced some characters to break the tracking)
When we visit that URL, we are sent to "7roitrack.com" where the string is decoding to show an affiliate ID (who gets paid for any sales that result from this click) and a campaign ID (so they know to show us the "Trump" version of the scam).
That immediately sends us to: "en1-trk.com" which then sends us to "ih-trk.com" which then sends us to "athome-profits.com" which has a fake "Breaking News" page shown below:
The text of the page tries to convince the gullible email-clicker that Donald Trump believes "Ultimate Home Profits" is the best way to make money from the Internet. Here's what it says:
"It's time that people realized the amazing potential the American people have to create income for themselves and their families. The truth is, the average American can double or even triple their income today without making any changes to their current lifestyle." Mr. Trump went on.
The secret, he says, is in taking advantage of the leverage available on the internet.
"It's no secret that I made my fortune in real estate and television, because those were the best opportunities available at the time. But times have changed. Right now, an average American with no special skills and no investment can go out and start earning income online today."
Mr, Trump says the best opportunity available is a new program called Ultimate Home Profits which teaches regular people to take advantage of this massive internet opportunity quickly and easily, and even places them with real online companies that pay them for their time comlpeting simple tasks.
"Emily Hudson is absolutely changing the world with her Ultimate Home Profits program" he said. "Normally, rich people keep the secrets to their wealth to themselves. But Sara, she has found an amazing opportunity, and she is sharing it with everyone. That's incredible."
Trump has not hidden his affection for Ms. Hudson. He has recently been praising her on social media for her efforts to teach regular people how to create amazing wealth in their spare time.
The scam-page includes a Fake Twitter Endorsement, shown below:
Trump Pills / Trump $100 Gift Cards?The "Ultimate Home Profits" spammers are by no means the only spammers that have been abusing Trump's name to peddle their wares (although they are certainly the highest volume spammers of the crowd!)
In this fake Fox News spam (from "FoxNews@newearningreportupdates.eu") the fake headline tells us that "Donald Trump Credits $4 Billion Empire to This Pill". The URL forwards through "xchangetrak.com" and "tracking.routeoffers.com" and "greathealthychoices.com" before landing at "goodhealthtips.net/donald-trump" (AFFID = 1018). Spam for this campaign includes sender names such as "Trump Reveals Trick", "Trump's Improve Thinking", "Trump's IQ Booster" and "Trump's Memory Secret", with claims that the email is endorsed by MensHealth, Forbes, CNNHealth, and as shown below, Fox News.
(Quote from "goodhealthtips.net" spam affiliate site)
"Trump is a big fan of creating jobs, reading books, and doing puzzles, but according to O'Reilly, he also credits his success to an IQ boosting, brain pill that helped him with memory, and recall. "This pill is the real magic," says Mr.Trump, referring to CogniMaxx XL.
"This brain booster is not heavily advertised but that's what's great about it-- CogniMaxx XL puts all their money into finding the most organic, pure all natural ingredients and that it, it all goes into the formula, so you kind of have to be 'in the know' to get your hands on it, but I tell everyone I meet my 'secret' so I guess it's not really a secret anymore."
This spam message promises a $100 Gift Card if you will take a survey related to Trump's chance of winning. The Trump Gift Cards is just another example of the "Survey on any popular topic that promises a gift card" spam. In this case the spam goes to "www.loveauthority.org" which redirects through the tracking sites "tump.brandstrendy.com", "prosper202.brandstrendy.com" "trkur5.com" and "a.websponsors.com" before landing at "publicsurveypanel.com". From there it follows a fairly standard "steal all your public information and never give you a gift card" model that we've described on this blog so often before: (For a full write-up on how Fake Surveys for Gift Cards works, see the story on this blog about fake Target Gift Cards).
The Spamming IPs?For the spam-trackers who want to know . . . those "thirty most popular" IP addresses on the Trump/CNN spam we saw are mostly in the US with a couple each from Canada and Romania, and one in Ireland. In most cases, the criminal leases a box from a reseller who hosts services at one of these locations, and then spams as hard as possible until they get busted, then they rotate to a new IP and keep going. Spamhaus has coined the term "Snowshoe spammers" for these people who often do single day, or even single hour, spam campaigns from a location before quickly moving to another location, never settling long enough to be considered a "big problem" for any given host.
|188.8.131.52/32||ESECUREDATA - eSecureData,CA||11831||CA|
|184.108.40.206/32||ESECUREDATA - eSecureData,CA||11831||CA|
|220.127.116.11/32||WEBWORLD-AS Sternforth Ltd t/a Web World Ireland,IE||30900||IE|
|18.104.22.168/32||M247 M247 Ltd,GB||9009||RO|
|22.214.171.124/32||M247 M247 Ltd,GB||9009||RO|
|126.96.36.199/32||PEER1 - Peer 1 Network (USA) Inc.,US||13768||US|
|188.8.131.52/32||PEER1 - Peer 1 Network (USA) Inc.,US||13768||US|
|184.108.40.206/32||PEER1 - Peer 1 Network (USA) Inc.,US||13768||US|
|220.127.116.11/32||PEER1 - Peer 1 Network (USA) Inc.,US||13768||US|
|18.104.22.168/32||PEER1 - Peer 1 Network (USA) Inc.,US||13768||US|
|22.214.171.124/32||PEER1 - Peer 1 Network (USA) Inc.,US||13768||US|
|126.96.36.199/32||DATANOC - Lanset America Corporation,US||16578||US|
|188.8.131.52/32||DATANOC - Lanset America Corporation,US||16578||US|
|184.108.40.206/32||RAPIDVPS-COM - Infinitum Technologies Inc.,US||17183||US|
|220.127.116.11/32||AS-CHOOPA - Choopa, LLC,US||20473||US|
|18.104.22.168/32||AS-CHOOPA - Choopa, LLC,US||20473||US|
|22.214.171.124/32||AS-CHOOPA - Choopa, LLC,US||20473||US|
|126.96.36.199/32||AS-CHOOPA - Choopa, LLC,US||20473||US|
|188.8.131.52/32||AS-CHOOPA - Choopa, LLC,US||20473||US|
|184.108.40.206/32||AS-CHOOPA - Choopa, LLC,US||20473||US|
|220.127.116.11/32||SERVERCENTRAL - Server Central Network,US||23352||US|
|18.104.22.168/32||SERVERCENTRAL - Server Central Network,US||23352||US|
|22.214.171.124/32||NDCHOST - Network Data Center Host, Inc.,US||33322||US|
|126.96.36.199/32||NDCHOST - Network Data Center Host, Inc.,US||33322||US|
|188.8.131.52/32||NDCHOST - Network Data Center Host, Inc.,US||33322||US|
|184.108.40.206/32||AS-COLOCROSSING - ColoCrossing,US||36352||US|
|220.127.116.11/32||AS-COLOCROSSING - ColoCrossing,US||36352||US|
|18.104.22.168/32||AS-COLOCROSSING - ColoCrossing,US||36352||US|
|22.214.171.124/32||ST-BGP - Sharktech,US||46844||US|
|126.96.36.199/32||ST-BGP - Sharktech,US||46844||US|